San Francisco recycler fined $500K for violating metal theft laws

Circosta Iron & Metal is the third metal recycler to be prosecuted since 2013.

April 15, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has announced that the San Francisco-based scrap metal company Circosta Iron & Metal Co. will pay a $500,000 fine as part of a settlement of a civil prosecution brought by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

“We can’t rely on enforcement alone to effectively stop metal thieves. We also have to make sure they can’t find an avenue to sell their stolen goods, and that requires recycling companies to do their part to deter metal theft by following the law,” Gascón says.

In an effort to shut down the market for stolen metal, California has passed laws designed to prevent, deter and detect metal theft by imposing requirements on companies that purchase scrap metal. The laws require scrap metal dealers to take steps to determine that the materials they purchase were not stolen. They must photograph, fingerprint and record the identification of individuals selling certain types of scrap metal, as well. Unless a statutory exception applies, dealers must wait three days before paying the seller for the scrap metal.

According to the San Francisco District Attorney's complaint, Circosta consistently violated the state’s antimetal-theft laws, including not holding payments for the required three days or buying scrap metal without requiring identification or other information from sellers.

Under the settlement, Circosta must pay $500,000 in civil penalties and costs. Circosta also will be bound by a permanent injunction designed to ensure good business practices and prohibit future violations of the law. By entering into this injunction, Circosta is agreeing to procedures that will make it a model for California metal recyclers in the future, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office says. 

Circosta is the third metal recycler to be prosecuted by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office since 2013. The settlement with Circosta brings the total penalties and costs assessed against the three companies so far to $4.6 million.